Merlot - a complete wine?

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Merlot - a complete wine?

Postby waiters friend » Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:32 pm

I'd like to start a conversation on something that has bothered me for years.

It didn't start with the main character in 'Sideways' shouting "I won't drink any f#$%ing Merlot". I just have yet to find a straight (100%) Merlot that I feel is a complete wine, and that includes drinking in Bordeaux.

For me. Merlot is a good blender, and relies on (mostly) Cabernet Sauvignon to provide the structure to support it. Cabernet Sauvignon is described as a 'doughnut' wine (missing middle palate) and this is precisely the gap that Merlot fills. So why produce a straight Merlot, if all it provides is middle palate?

So, I put it to the test. The James Irvine Grand Merlot has been touted as possibly the best example of this variety in Australia, and I acquired a 2006 version (arguably the best vintage in Eden Valley for a decade) as well as the 2008 (yet to be tested). Here is the TN for the 2006 : viewtopic.php?f=2&t=25133

From the TN, you can tell that I enjoyed the wine. But - there was still that little piece missing. Especially on the outside of the tongue. The 'reverse doughnut' in fact. Am I being pedantic?

Thoughts?

Allan
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Re: Merlot - a complete wine?

Postby ChrisH » Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:23 pm

I've yet to have a James Irvine that blew me away. If money is no object, try Masseto from Bolgheri in Tuscany. 100% Merlot and fabulous, sumptuous wine.

But you have a point Allan - Bordeaux worked out long ago that a blend was usually a more complete wine than one made from 100% Cabernet or 100% Merlot.
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Re: Merlot - a complete wine?

Postby Matau » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:21 pm

Haven't poked my head in here for yonks.... I hope you are all well :cheers:

Can't comment on the wine as such but I'm involved in a clonal project and we've put on a few tastings for winemakers with some new clones of a bunch of varieties that are now available in Australia.

The bracket that is always the biggest eyeopener and gets discussion going is the new merlot clones that are now in the country from France. We suffered from a lack of clonal diversity in AUS for yonks (although the argument that with time, site probably trumps clone is valid) but the upside is that we should see great improvement in the wines produced from the variety in the future which is not before time.
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Re: Merlot - a complete wine?

Postby ChrisH » Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:23 pm

Sounds promising. Who is using the new clones for a straight Merlot Matau (or is it a bit early to know that just yet) ?
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Re: Merlot - a complete wine?

Postby Chuck » Sat Jul 11, 2015 2:34 pm

I am not a great fan of straight merlot but love it as a blender particularly with Margaret River cabernet. If made in a more robust extractive style it can be good for me but this style may not be the standard merlot style. I remember the Classic McLaren 2002 La Testa Merlot was in this style and was a top wine for me.

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